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Sega of America Union Workers Ratify Contract Less Than a Year After Recognition

Today, workers at Sega of America union AEGIS-CWA have announced they have ratified their first contract with Sega, less than a year after their recognition as a legal union.

In a press release, AEGIS-CWA revealed that the worker vote to ratify the contract passed, allowing the contract to go into effect. The contract includes a number of worker protections, including raises for all unit members (roughly 150 full-time and temporary employees), Just Cause protections, layoff protections including a recall list and severance, commitment to crediting all workers on games they work on, and a number of other benefits.

"One of our most notable items is our grievance process," said Sega localization editor and AEGIS-CWA member Em Geiger. "There's extra security knowing we have in place a system for bringing issues to the table, such as arguing Just Cause in a potential layoff. If the company wants to do something that the unit doesn't like, we can grieve it, bargain over it, have our say before anything is finalized. And concerning Just Cause, we're now the second unit in this industry in North America to have protections against arbitrary discipline and discharge."

Sega of America workers first announced their desire to unionize
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, citing desires for better pay, improved benefits, and workload balance. The union
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the following July following a vote, making it the largest multi-department union of organized industry workers, encompassing Brand Marketing, Games as a Service, Localization, Marketing, Product Development Ops, Sales, Quality Assurance, and other divisions.

However, in January of this year, Sega of America
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as it moved to outsource QA and localization, a move which impacted AEGIS-CWA members. At the time, the union said it was able to negotiate to double the number of saved jobs, and offer severance to temporary workers.

"The mass layoffs SOA implemented were an enormous hit to our numbers, and to our overall morale," Geiger said. "We negotiated severance packages and some employee retention, but there was an undeniable shift once the grief of those losses settled in. But in spite of this, after months of work, we have our contract."

Unionization remains a hot topic in the games industry as more and more unions form across major studios. Earlier this month, a group of Activision QA workers formed the
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. Other unionized teams in the US include the
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, voice actors have
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, while overseas
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recently unionized, and France has long had
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"We are by no means the very first video game company to do what we've done," Geiger concluded. "However, we are among the first, and we know there are others who will unionize and get their contracts in the coming years. Sega is a household name, and what we can do is encourage anyone else who might be thinking about unionizing, or are in the process and haven't gone public yet, to do so with enthusiasm and pride. You can only benefit from unionizing. We truly, madly, deeply wish for a better standard of work and wage within this industry. And hopefully, our contract can help serve as an example for those who will one day write their own."

Rebekah Valentine is a senior reporter for IGN. Got a story tip? Send it to [email protected].

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